Spotlight On: Tom Wojtunik
Tom Wojtunik is the director with the golden touch! A two-time IT Award nominee for Outstanding Director for his productions of Edenville (Emerging Artists Theatre) and Blood Brothers (APAC), two other productions he directed received IT Awards for Outstanding Production of a Musical: Children of Eden (APAC) and Urinetown, The Musical (The Gallery Players).
As the former Artistic Director of APAC (Astoria Performing Arts Center) he received the acclaim of critics and audiences alike with astonishingly good productions of Allegro, Blood Brothers, The Secret Garden, The Human Comedy, Children of Eden, The Pillowman, Ragtime and Proof.
Tom is a member of the LCT Directors' Lab, the Ensemble Studio Theatre and Emerging Artists Theatre, also worked with USB and The Pit and as a co-creator and director of The Miss Education of Jenna Bush at the NY Fringe, where he and Melissa Rauch walked away with the Best Solo Show and Audience Favorite Awards.
I had the great pleasure of working with Mr. Wojtunik a few years ago in The Play About the Naked Guy with Emerging Artists Theater, and I can attest as an actor that he is one of the true pros working on Off-Off-Broadway.
I caught up with Tom to ask him about the sci-fi-themed shows he is currently directing at the NYMF Festival.
BORG: Tom, what is this I hear you are working on right now?
TOM: I'm currently directing the premiere of a new musical in the New York Music Theatre Festival; Cloned!
BORG: "Cloned" is the title or is this a procedure you are having done?
TOM: Cloned! is a very funny farce musical about a young scientist who ends up cloning himself - needless to say, identities are mistaken, hilarity ensues. There's a pet pigeon who is a major character in the play. Even Sharon Stone makes an appearance.
BORG: Why didn't you ask me to read for the part of Sharon Stone? Joking. Now, do you have interest in Sci-fi, personally? I didn't know this about you!
TOM: Well, Star Wars was the first movie that I remember having had an impact on me as a child, and the first time I got really obsessed with an alternate universe. But besides that, I'd say I'm more of a fantasy guy--Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and His Dark Materials are some of my favorites books!
BORG: Adorable. How did you go from Harry Potter to Cloned!?
TOM: I've been working on the show for the past year. I first came on board to direct a reading of it for NYMF last summer and was so impressed by how well the humor of the piece works. It's not easy writing a successful farce musical, and I think these writers (Jacey Powers, Dan Wolpow and Adam Spiegel) really succeed.
BORG: What is the source of the material?
TOM: In the late 80s/early 90s, there were a string of movies about young men performing amazing feats of science (The Fly, Weird Science, Back to the Future), and Cloned! owes a debt to that genre.
BORG: Um, those are three of my favorite movies from that time period! I'm hooked! Tell me more!
TOM: It's 1993 and there is a new president in the White House, Jurassic Park is about to tear up the box office, and Wally Waterman is on the verge of inventing a teleporter, but science gets weird and Wally accidentally clones himself - also there's a movie star, international espionage, and a few pigeons.
BORG: I love a cute nerd, Tom. We should clone you.
Cloned! A Two of a Kind Musical won NYMF's 2013 Developmental Reading Award Winner and was an Official Selection of the 2014 NFMF "Next Link Project" and Grand Jury Selection. Book by Jacey Powers and Dan Wolpow with Music by Adam Spiegel and Lyrics by Dan Wolpow. It features David Andino, Melanie Beck, John Alban Coughlan, Alex Goley, Crystal Kellogg, Matthew Knowland, Eric Mann, Tony Romero and Babs Winn, With Music Direction by Julianne B. Merrill and choreography by 2-time IT Award nominee for Outstanding Choreography, Ryan Kasprzak (who you may recognize from TV's Smash and So You Think You Can Dance)
CLONED! plays July 7 - 15 at The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre at The Pershing Square Signature Center. For full performance schedule and to buy tickets, visit: